Unlike most artists who appropriate images and objects, Annette Lemieux is largely concerned with their role as memorabilia, as icons of lost eras and irreplaceable moments. However, far from representing a simple exercise in nostalgia, the work is also about the way meaning inevitably remakes itself in accordance with changing history.
Deliberately blurring the boundaries between sculpture, photography and painting, Lemieux transforms the gallery into a form of minimalist antique shop, where art and personal history colonize each other in the form of a series of word games. Fragments from a nursery rhyme are screened onto a rectangular canvas resembling one of John McCracken's planks, neatly fusing innocent childhood reminiscence with the sophisticated language of Minimalism.
"Count Your Blessings" transforms a reassuring homily into a progression of numerals like grade-school blackboard exercises. Inevitably, we also read in a reference to Jasper Johns' number series, reinforcing Lemieux's thesis that nothing (least of all innocence) is sacred, everything is fluid and open to change and an attendant sense of loss.
The strength of Lemieux's complex oeuvre is that it can make this sense of loss simultaneously poignant and rejuvenating. Her challenge is to prevent what amounts to a straightforward concept from becoming figuratively as well as literally shopworn. (Daniel Weinberg Gallery, 619 N. Almont Drive, to Nov. 28.)